Sid Chaplin Biography
(1916–86), The Day of the Sardine, The Watchers and the Watched, My Fate Cries Out
British novelist and shortstory writer, born in Shildon, County Durham. After leaving school at the age of 14, he worked as a miner. Later, he won a scholarship to Fircroft College for Working Men, where he started writing, and became a specialist writer for the National Coal Board. An influence on writers like Alan Sillitoe and Stan Barstow, his novels offer a realistic evocation of life among Tyneside mining families, and reflect a vanishing British working-class culture. Among his best novels are The Day of the Sardine (1961), in which the protagonist, the moody Arthur Haggerston, anticipates a typical John Braine hero but with more cynicism about his own aspirations to an affluent way of life; and The Watchers and the Watched (1962). His other novels include My Fate Cries Out (1949), The Thin Seam (1950), The Big Room (1960), Sam in the Morning (1965), and The Mines of Alabaster (1971). Among his collections of short stories are The Leaping Lad (1946) and In Blackberry Time (1987).